Kai Sotto gearing up for 2022 NBA Draft

Published May 3, 2022, 2:00 AMPolo Bustamante

Kai Sotto reiterates his commitment to the Gilas program but for now his focus shifts to the 2022 NBA Draft.

It’s no secret that Kai Sotto is an integral part of the Philippine national basketball team. Unfortunately, he won’t be taking part in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games happening later this month. That’s because he is fully focused on getting ready for the 2022 NBA Draft on June 24 (PHT).

“Siyempre Gilas, hindi mawawala yun sa plano ko, kasi dream ko makalaro sa national team,” Sotto said in an interview that aired on One Sports’ The Game on Monday. “In the future, siyempre gusto ko maglaro, pero as of now focus lang sa pre-draft training ko at anumang mangyari doon.”

Kai was part of the Gilas team that competed in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in June. He played nearly 19 minutes per game in the three wins to average a little over nine points and seven rebounds. He recently concluded his first professional stint with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 23 games played.

After his quick pitstop in Manila, Kai will be flying to the U.S. where he will go through pre-draft training. He is slated to attend the 2022 NBA Draft Combine where he will be able to showcase his skills to draft evaluators.

Kai understands the burden that he carries. Filipino fans are cheering him on in his mission to become the first homegrown player to play in the NBA. 

“Siyempre thankful ako na maraming mga tao na sumusuporta para sa akin at para sa journey ko.” 

While the support has been overwhelming, Kai understands that the road to the NBA is still long and uncertain.

“At ako, talagang focus lang ako sa journey ko. Kasi lagi kong sinasabi sa sarili ko, yung pangarap ko, pangarap ng madami, kaya hindi ako pwede mawala ng focus,” he explained about his mindset as he prepares for the draft.

Kai has his eyes set on the NBA and he’s not looking back. Even though he won’t be donning the Philippine colors during the SEA Games, he will still be waving the flag proudly as he tries to make history during the NBA Draft.